Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mae West: Croon Crazy

MAE WEST heard Paul Whiteman's orchestra perform at Texas Guinan's night clubs. (When Guinan died suddenly in 1933, bandleader Paul Whiteman was a pallbearer.) Since Whiteman was born in Denver in March — — on Friday, 28 March 1890 — — it's a good time to revisit an animated short that featured both West and Whiteman.
• • Croon Crazy” [December 1933] • •
• • In “Croon Crazy” [1933] Cubby Bear is hosting a live radio show on R.K.O. and discovers all his guests cancelling at the last moment, leaving him no choice but to impersonate them. Cubby's stars are Mae West, Al Jolson [26 May 1886
23 October 1950], Kate Smith [1 May 1907 — 17 June 1986], and bandleader Paul Whiteman [28 March 1890 — 29 December 1967].
• • "I've Got a Lot of What I've Got" is sung by Cubby — — impersonating Mae West.
• • This frisky Pre-Code cartoon shows Cubby Bear performing "Mammy" in black-face, cross-dressing, and depicting Mahatma Gandhi [2 October 1869 — 30 January 1948]. A scrawny Gandhi comes dancing along and, when he flashes open his white robe, he reveals himself as a cross-dresser modeling the latest style in scanty feminine lingerie. There's also a lustful sultan and his skimpily clad harem.
• • Steve Muffati directed and co-write this daring Pre-Code 8-minute animation. It was first released on 29 December 1933. It seems that the character Cubby Bear, featured in 20 cartoons during 1933 — 1934, was an intrepid interloper, a Mickey Mouse clone created at the Van Beuren studio.
• • Mae West and Paul Whiteman are two names featured on "All Of Me — A 60 Year Celebration." The original recordings of this hit single have been remastered.
• • Dorothy Fields [15 July 1905 — 28 March 1974] • •
• • Apparently always "in the mood," Mae West sang "I'm in the Mood for Love" — — and it was featured on the LP Fabulous Mae West [released in September 1955]. The song had been published twenty years earlier in 1935.
• • Born in Boston, James Francis McHugh [1894 — 1969] was a prolific songwriter who was doing his best work from the 1920s through the 1950s. McHugh composed over 270 songs and his hits were recorded by Mae West as well as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Dinah Washington, June Christy, Peggy Lee, Deanna Durbin, and Ella Fitzgerald.
• • Composer Jimmy McHugh collaborated with lyricist Dorothy Fields on "I'm in the Mood for Love," which enjoyed great popularity and is still being sung today.
• • A native of New Jersey, Dorothy Fields wrote over 400 songs for Broadway musicals and films. Along with Ann Ronell, Dana Suesse, Bernice Petkere, and Kay Swift, she was one of the first successful Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood female songwriters.
• • Dorothy Fields died in New York City of a stroke during the month of March — — on Thursday, 28 March 1974. She was 68.
• • On Wednesday, 28 March 1927 • •
• • In March 1927, in reaction to the Broadway aspirations of Mae West's play "The Drag," the New York State Legislature passed a law banning all depictions of homosexuality on the stage.
• • After the Grand Jury's indictments were finished, the courtroom trial began in earnest on Wednesday, 28 March 1927. First on the agenda was jury selection.
• • A few days later, Norman Schloss would open the case for the defense, pointing out the most obvious details: that "Sex" had already run for 339 performances, and it had been seen by more than 325,000 patrons, including members of the police department and their wives, by judges of the criminal courts, by seven members of the district attorneys’ staffs, and by citizens of the city who showed no moral impairment. A Broadway “play jury” had previewed the show, and belated prosecution was unreasonable.
• • The prosecutor would argue that the play "Sex" was obscene and he would be calling a series of detectives who became courtroom actors.
• • Sergeant Patrick Keneally of the Midtown Vice Squad seemed to relish reciting the more ribald lines from "The Drag," and imitating the walk and gestures of "the fairies" on stage.
• • The full-length stage play "Courting Mae West" dramatizes the trial and other matters leading up to it — — and, of course, the colorful aftermath.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "You can dunk that in your beer sundae and believe it."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about advertising mentioned Mae West.
• • Dynamic Business editors write: Mae West said that too much of a good thing can be wonderful. Obviously, Ms. West was never on the receiving end of the avalanche of marketing messages consumers now receive. . . .
• • Source: Article: "Advertiser overload: Are you guilty?" written by Dynamic Business staff for Dynamic Business; posted on 12 March 2012
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2252nd blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • 1955 • •
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